Vino Hero Doc Hendley: Bottoms Up, Miami!

CNN 2009 Hero of the Year Doc Hendley has two words for our thirsty 305'ers: keep drinking. 

The Raleigh-based bartender -- who literally parlayed serving drinks into a world-changing mission -- is in town this week to throw back a few for a good cause, and admits he can't think of a better place to encourage others to do the same than the Magic City. 

"That's the first really good reason for throwing one here," Hendley joked.  "After we do this first event, I think there are going to be many more to follow."

"I think we have found a second home here in Miami," he added.

As the founder and executive director of Wine to Water,  a non-profit aid organization focused on providing clean water to needy people around the world by raising money through vino-inspired events, Hendley has provided clean drinking water to more than five developing countries and hopes to reach one million within the next five years.  Still, the global activist says he prefers the glass-half-full approach (in more ways than one) when it comes others opening their wallets for the cause.

"I've been a part of other non-profit events, and I have always left feeling guilty, like whatever it was they were promoting was my fault...that made the events so depressing, and sad," said Hendley.  "The whole idea of my event - it's not that we are celebrating that the world is messed up - but we are celebrating the act of doing something about it."

And to prove it, Hendley is hosting a kick-off event at Baru Urbano tomorrow night where he will likely be scouring the room for empty wine glasses rather than counting the dollars donated. 

"The most important thing tomorrow night is really to have people come out and have a great time, and kind of get bit by the bug and realize this is something they could be a part of," he said. "Why not come out and have some drinks, listen to music and be able to help out people around the world with the most basic need?"

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